Kristen Day is the executive director of Democrats For Life of America
In January 2020, I went to a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa to ask Pete Buttigieg, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, a very important question.
‘Is there room for people like me in the Democratic Party?’
This was at the height of the primary season and pro-life Democrats, like me, were looking for a candidate who supported pro-life voices.
We had already lost then-frontrunner Joe Biden.
Just one day after re-affirming his support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for most abortions, he caved under pressure and declared that he opposed it.
Author Kristen Day speaking outside the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in August 15, 2020
Pro-life Democrats were left without anyone wanting their vote after we watched for years as our party steadily moved away from us.
President Bill Clinton said that abortions should be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’
But then in 2012, the Democratic Party dropped the word ‘rare’ from its discussion of abortion in the official party platform.
President Barack Obama rallied Democrats around the goal of reducing abortions.
But then in 2016, the party officially embraced the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
Hillary Clinton took the party even further towards the extreme by supporting a women’s right to abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy.
And sadly, on that night in Iowa, Mayor Pete made clear that pro-life Democrats didn’t have any allies remaining on the debate stage.
‘In 1996, and several years after that, there was language in the Democratic platform that said that we understand that people have differing views on this issue, but we are a big-tent party that includes everybody,’ I told him that evening, ‘Would you be open to language like that in the Democratic platform that really did say that our party is diverse and inclusive, and we want everybody?’
In short, his answer was ‘no.’
‘The best I can offer is that we may disagree on that very important issue and hopefully we will be able to partner on other issues,’ he said.
Now once again, amid the national uproar over a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the constitutional right to abortion may be overturned, 20 million pro-life Democrats are being ignored.
But as the Democratic party, by all indications, faces crushing losses in the 2022 midterms and potentially beyond, pro-life Democrats are asking: Is this really the time to be shrinking the tent again?
This week President Biden equated anyone that supported overturning Roe with MAGA extremists.
Really Mr. President?
As a long-time activist in the pro-life movement, I have worked with a wide coalition of pro-lifers, including Libertarians and independents, the religious and secular, brown, white, gay, straight, young, and old.
The coalition is broad and a majority would not consider themselves MAGA supporters.
Kristen Day and Hayden Laye, President of South Carolina Dems for Life and member of Young Pro-Life Democrats (YPLD), rallying outside the Supreme Court on May 3, 2022
I went to a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa to ask Pete Buttigieg, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, a very important question. ‘Is there room for people like me in the Democratic Party?’ (Above) Buttigieg is interviewed by moderator Chris Wallace on January 26, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa.
We are united in our mission to protect pre-born life and provide every pregnant woman with the opportunity and support to bring new life into the world.
We want the government (and more broadly, society) to not only support pregnant women and their unborn babies, but mothers and their babies after they are born.
We want the government to financially support fathers, mothers and single people so they can start families while pursuing meaningful and affirming work and careers.
We advocate for universal access to healthcare so people don’t have to choose between life and death, between food and medicine.
We seek to end the death penalty and the quasi-cultural death penalty for convicted felons, who served their time but are prevented from rejoining society.
Above all, pro-life Democrats want this important question put back in the hands of the people and not an unelected panel of judges.
We want our society to move on from this divisive fight and finally direct our focus on helping women who experience unplanned pregnancies.
But President Biden’s recent actions and DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison’s recent refusal to meet with elected pro-life Democrats have made the Democratic family more divided and inhospitable to pro-life voices.
This isn’t just bad policy, it’s bad politics.
When Biden was a U.S senator, there were 125 pro-life Democrats in the U.S. House and we had a robust 292-seat majority.
The numbers have been shrinking as the major political parties began to take clearer sides for and against the protection of the pre-born.
A decade ago, West Virginia Democrats held a robust majority that included 79 Democratic State Delegates compared to just 21 Republican members.
The West Virginia State Senate had a Democratic majority with 28 Democrats and only six Republicans.
Today, those numbers are flipped, with Republicans making massive gains in the state.
For the first time in history, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats in West Virginia.
In the last election cycle, eleven counties flipped from blue to red.
West Virginia is not the only state with this type of major shift.
The number of Republican supermajorities in state legislatures are growing because pro-life Democrats are being pushed out and Republicans are recruiting using a big tent marketing strategy.
In the last month, one pro-life Democratic Committee Chair joined the Republican Party after a New Jersey Democratic country committee attempt to force him out of his duly elected office.
Another pro-life and pro-2nd amendment Democrat in Tennessee changed his party affiliation to Independent.
Now is not the time to exclude and alienate Democratic allies.
Author Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America
With this week’s news around Roe v. Wade, we need to find common ground and find solutions that will address the concerns and needs of women and children during and after pregnancy.
Democrats helped build social safety nets. Now we must move and work together to expand them.
Women deserve better than abortion. This means better education, better information, better resources, and better social safety nets. Pro-life Democrats support all these things.
So, Joe Biden, I am going to ask you the same thing I asked Pete Buttigieg: Is there room in the Democratic Party for pro-life voters?
After accusing us of being MAGA extremists, a simple ‘yes’ won’t work.
We need real structural change within our party and a clear directive. We must get rid of the pro-abortion litmus test for Democratic candidates.
Biden ran on a platform of uniting a nation. Instead, he appears to be doubling down on a divisive strategy that is purging people from the Democratic Party.